Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

2019 Year-End Lists

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Marketing Translated Literature: High-cost but Compelling Approach

By Bruce Humes, February 5, '20

Just got the following email from a publisher of translated contemporary Arabic literature:

Email content

Pretty impressive: One-click access to video of author speaking (in Arabic with English sub-titles) about the novel; lengthy English-language extract; background info about the author; link to publisher's blog where one can find some authors personally reading their work, etc.

Has any publisher of Chinese literature in translation done something along these lines?

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Two New “Ethnic” Novels from China for 2020

By Bruce Humes, January 26, '20

Two potentially controversial novels — one by a Uyghur author, and the other by a Tibetan — have recently been published in English. They are part of the Kaleidoscope Series of China’s Ethnic Authors sponsored by China Translation & Publishing House, a dozen or so novels by authors that highlight tales in which non-Han culture, motifs and characters play a key role (民族题材文学).

Patigül’s Bloodline (百年血脉) relates the semi-autobiographical tale of a Xinjiang native, daughter of a Uyghur father and Hui mother, who marries a Han, and struggles to bring up a family in mainstream Chinese society. Told in the first person, it unflinchingly describes her mother’s mental illness, her brother’s agonizing death from an STD and tribulations of a “mixed” marriage. For an English excerpt, visit here.

Tsering Norbu’s Prayers in the Wind (祭语风中) narrates the subsequent life of a Buddhist monk who attempts — unsuccessfully — to exit China in the wake of the 1959 Tibetan uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. For an excerpt, visit here.

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2019 Publications in Chinese

By David Haysom, December 21, '19

As the year comes to a close, we’ve asked authors, translators, editors, and other friends of Paper Republic to recommend notable books published in Chinese in 2019 – translations into Chinese as well as original works. The resultant list gives an insight into the titles that have made an impression this year – and perhaps offers a preview of some of the books we can hope to see available in English soon!

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2019 Translations from Chinese

By Nicky Harman, December 13, '19

Here’s our roll-call of books translated from Chinese in 2019

There’s (almost) something for everyone this year – scifi and Singapore fiction have a strong showing, as do pre-modern classics, and even one self-help book. But still, fewer translated works were published in 2019 than in 2018 (31, as against 40-odd in 2018 ) Worst of all, only four of the list below are women writers. Every year, novels that are funny, sharp, moving and entertaining are published in the Chinese-speaking world – there is plenty for publishers and literary agents to seek out. We at Paper Republic continue to work hard to bring our favourite novels to their attention. (Watch out for our list of 2019 publications in Chinese, to be posted next week.) Read on

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The Pro-active Translator & Chinese Lit in Translation

By Bruce Humes, December 8, '19

First, it was Howard Goldblatt and his renditions of Mo Yan's novels that helped the Shandong storyteller win the (once coveted) Nobel Prize in Literature. Goldblatt has made it no secret that he edited the text in order to heighten readability.

Now, via an interview with Ken Liu in the New York Times, Why Is Chinese Sci-Fi Everywhere Now? Ken Liu Knows, we learn that translator Liu played a similar role in making Liu Cixin's The Three-body Problem popular in the West:

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Paper Republic London party

By Nicky Harman, December 4, '19

On 29th November 2019, Paper Republic launched as a UK-registered charity promoting Chinese literature in translation. We are, as you may know, a virtual organization, with a team of volunteers spread from America to the UK and China. But to celebrate our new non-profit status, we decided to have a fund-raising party in the literary heart of London. The raffle prizes (tea, maotai, books, books and more books, signed by any of their translators who happened to be present) went like hot cakes, and the pub room was jam-packed and raucous. Inevitably, because our supporters are spread all over the world, there were some familiar faces who couldn’t be there and were sadly missed, though Eric Abrahamsen, our founder and Chair of Trustees, made a special trip over from Seattle. But now we’ve got the party bug, we hope to host more literary parties in the US and China in the near future.

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Database for Chinese Lit in Spanish Translation

By Bruce Humes, November 16, '19

The Spanish-language database here is searchable in several ways:

Title in Spanish
Original title in Chinese
Author
Translator
Genre

Entries for each of the above are also listed alphabetically, so you can scroll for a look at what is in the database even if you don't have a particular book/author/translator in mind.

It is not anywhere as complete as MCLC's one in English, but still useful.

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Interview with Michelle Deeter

By Michelle Deeter, November 9, '19

Hybrid Pub Scout, the podcast that is mapping the frontier between traditional and indie publishing, interviewed Michelle Deeter about how a book gets translated. The episode is fun and informative, and includes a book giveaway!
[Episode 32 Hybrid Pub Scout] https://hybridpubscout.com/episode-32-book-translator-michelle-deeter/

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